Today, having swigged a half-liter
Of lemon vodka with a friend,
I, a vegetable garden crawler,
Take in the light of distant stars.
They are galaxies, I know,
But they seem like turnips to me:
He who sowed them, one day,
Will pull them out by the hair.
Today I saw how a guess
Staggered in the desert air—
Rain sprinkled on the dill
And vouchsafed to me:
I am here to live humbly,
Letting my root into infinity.
I am here to become powerless,
And, without power, become strong.
Translated from the Russian by Philip Metres
All translated work in this issue is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.